Op-Ed: Put your records on

Vinyls are back by popular demand, and here to stay on the shelves of college kids and high schoolers all around. Whether they are bought as collectibles, canvases, or to actually be listened to, Millennials and Gen Zers are rushing to antique stores, consignment galleries, and even electronic stores to supply their record players with new and old musicians.
Music streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora are the newest form of media that people are listening to music through, but record players are adapting with Bluetooth compatibility to your phone. Although the digital age has made music portable and easy to access, the nostalgia and aesthetic of vinyls spinning on a record player is something people are starting to return to. Newer musicians are taking advantage of the growing popularity by having album covers that are more visually attractive than others and even coloring the vinyl itself to a color other than its classic black.
“I like the overall experience of going to an antique store for records,” Amarillo resident Lilith Kafka said. “They each carry a history, and I like rediscovering the older artists.”
Kafka has collected over 30 records within the past two years after getting a record player for her 17 birthday. Other teens have gotten similar presents and have taken to decorating their rooms with painted vinyls as well. After getting my own record player earlier this year, I am also enjoying searching for good artists in antique stores and seeing how new musicians are making their own vinyls unique. I still like the convenience of having Spotify downloaded on my phone and the instant access to thousands of artists, but playing records has become timeless, and won’t be completely replaced by digital streaming. Much like how e-books are used for convenience, traditional books are still popular due to the experience that comes with it.
Older generations may be confused by the sudden popularity of old-school media with Polaroid cameras being bought up by younger generations as well, but it goes back to the experience that comes with using traditional media. New media allows for easier convenience, access, and portability, and is no doubt used more often than traditional media is, but there will always be traditionalists who like to go back to the original forms of media. It provides a sense of familiarity, enriches your knowledge of the history of music, and is a creative and interactive collectible. It gives people a shared experience with their elders as well. My own grandparents have already been telling me about their favorite records, wishing they had kept theirs to let me use them. Several of my friends have had similar conversations with their parents as well, and have even found boxes of vinyls they were able to salvage and listen to with their families.
“My grandpa had a lot of records that my dad was able to pass down to me,” Kafka said. “Listening to some of his collection with the rest of my family is a nice way to bond and listen to some of their memories with.”
Vinyls are not going anywhere, despite the ever-evolving music industry trying to shift to a cheaper production by sticking to digital streaming. Some artists are taking advantage of that, and others are missing out on a creative way to put their music out there for collectors and music lovers of all ages.